In the penultimate block, dancers screamed along to rock and roll songs, as they started to regain their energy for the push to the finish line.
Named for the Fall Out Boy song “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” THNKS FR TH MRTHN featured rock anthems like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and The Village People’s “YMCA.” Dance Marathon’s finance committee announced that dancers had raised $693,149 by the $400 deadline two weeks ago.
In addition, dancers enjoyed University President Morton Schapiro’s dance moves and performances from student groups. Schapiro visited the tent with Provost Jonathan Holloway, who said they were proud of the dancers.
“It is so damn inspiring to see what you do, to see how selfless you are, to see the community here and to see how you work so hard to give back,” Schapiro told the dancers. “There’s nothing I do that inspires me as much.”
Grace O’Connor, a member of the a capella group Northwestern Undertones and a Weinberg sophomore, said her group had performed at DM for the past couple years and enjoyed it each year.
“We’re a pretty energetic bunch, so we really wanted to come in and do something that was high energy,” O’Connor said. “I like to put people in a better mood, so hopefully we get the crowd going a little.”
Vice president of Programs at the Evanston Community Foundation Marybeth Schroeder told The Daily she has attended 17 Dance Marathons, but this one was especially important to her because the money would more directly impact the Evanston community through the primary beneficiary, Cradles to Crayons.
“(Cradles to Crayons) is about giving every kid in Evanston a fair shake to grow into the best person they possibly can be,” Schroeder told The Daily. “It’s really about equity, and it’s not about charity. It’s about treating people with dignity.”
Schroeder said Evanston is able to welcome Cradles to Crayons “entirely because of the relationship with NUDM.” She added that funding from DM goes directly into grants and programs in Evanston through ECF, and she has worked with NUDM board members to bring dancers into the community as volunteers.
Bettye Cohns from the Reba Early Learning Center said they were the first organization in Evanston to partner with Cradles to Crayons. She highlighted a refugee family from Chad and a family who lost their home in a fire as examples of those who have benefitted from the organization.
As dancers neared the final block, some reported feeling tired. Dancer and Medill freshman Brianna Bilter said “every bone in my body hurts,” but the fundraising element of NUDM is “awesome.”
“(Cradles to Crayons is) obviously doing great work and that’s why we’re all here,” Bilter said. “That’s why I’m doing DM at all because nobody with any sanity would do this just for fun.”